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Paul McCartney says a new AI Beatles record is on the way

It seems we’ll be hearing a new Beatles record later this year. Paul McCartney has confirmed via BBC Radio 4 that he used AI to pull John Lennon’s vocals from a previously recorded demo.

Legendary songwriter Paul McCartney says a new Beatles song is scheduled for release later this year.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today, McCartney explained that artificial intelligence was used to pull John Lennon’s vocals from an older demo of a previously unreleased song. ‘We were able to take John’s voice…and mix the record as you normally would,’ Paul said.

AI was used during the production of the Disney documentary The Beatles: Get Back to enhance vocals and image quality on very old cassettes and tapes. Paul was introduced to the tech’s uses throughout the editing process – and says it has ‘great uses.’

Paul’s embrace of AI technology to help enhance, improve, and – in this case – release new material may be contentious for music purists. The Beatles are an established staple in British history and meddling with relatively new innovations could muddy their legacy for some.

The Beatles’ new song title hasn’t been officially announced yet, but the BBC has said it is ‘likely’ to be a previously worked-on track called ‘Now And Then’.

AI has already caused a significant stir in the industry, potentially putting human input and artistic licensing at risk. We’ve seen anonymous creators producing and uploading songs to mimic other artists, evoking anger and confusion from big names like Drake.

Polishing and tinkering with a song that was written by a deceased artist also presents its own, unique ethical challenges. Is it morally right to release songs that were never meant to be heard by the public when the original creator is not alive to consent?

Juice WRLD’s catalogue is a prime example of economic gain taking precedent over the integrity of the artist’s original vision for their work. Many albums have been release posthumously, each with questionable source material and lacking overall cohesion. Could AI make this issue even more prevalent?

Spotify has had to remove thousands of songs for using AI recently. It’s clear that stricter, more robust legal rules need to be written and enforced in order to carve out a fair use of AI within the industry.

As Paul said during his interview, ‘we’ll just have to see where it leads.’